LEARNING English from scratch might not be as easy as ABC, but Lok Guragai is devoted to helping his Nepalese-speaking pupils master the language.
So much so, the Bhutanese national has just been announced as a finalist as most outstanding practitioner in the statewide Victorian Learn Local Awards for his work at the Felltimber Community Centre in Wodonga.
Mr Guragai has been teaching at the centre for the past year after co-ordinator Lynda Paterson was put in touch with him.
“He was teaching people (from the Bhutanese community) informally in his loungeroom,” she said with a smile.
“So we got him involved in the community centre.
“His ability to be a leader for his community is outstanding.”
Mrs Paterson said Mr Guragai was “the missing link” in the centre’s English language classses for the Bhutanese community.
There are about 11 people taking classes, but Mr Guragai says the Bhutanese community in Wodonga numbers about 100.
By translating English phrases first into their native Nepalese, the pupils can better understand what they are trying to say before attempting the English.
Mr Guragai lived in a village in Bhutan before being displaced in 1990 and spending many years in a refugee camp in Nepal, where he pursued an informal education and then volunteered within the camp and at a primary school run by a charity organisation.
He migrated to Australia in 2008 and quickly continued his volunteer work and tutoring.
“I enjoy working with people,” he said.
“It feels very good and I am very happy and excited (about the award nomination).”
The awards are run by the Adult, Community and Further Education Board.
Mr Guragai and Mrs Paterson, who nominated him, will travel to Melbourne on August 29 to find out if he has won.
Before that, he will become an Australian citizen on August 20.